BOURNE SNATCHES LAST-MINUTE WIN AT BLACK BESS (Barbados)
Driving the Ford Focus WRC07, Paul ‘Surfer’ Bourne recovered from some early dramas to snatch a two-second victory on the final stage of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Winter Gravel Rally. Run on a slightly ‘tweaked’ Black Bess course in St Peter on Sunday,October 28, it was the final round of 2012 BRC Virgin Atlantic Championship.
With co-driver David Cossey, Bourne was fastest on the first two stages to build an eight-second lead; a launch control issue on stage three, however, cut the gap by half-a-second, then a spin on stage four left him trailing by eight seconds at lunch.
Roger Hill and Graham Gittens (Toyota Corolla WRC) were the crew to benefit from Bourne’s issues, seeing the chance of ending the year with a win. Bourne took two seconds back on the first reverse direction stage after lunch, but then lost those seconds when he stalled next time out. A real charge on stage seven of eight brought him to within four seconds of Hill, then an all-out effort on the last test of the day – faster by nearly six seconds – led to victory by 1.9 seconds.
Bourne said, “Today was a good birthday rally. I had trouble with the launch control from stage three and a spin on stage four, which meant I had to change approach after lunch to a full-out attack to re-take the lead I handed to Roger. A start-line stall didn’t help the cause, but it was a good finish to add some spice to the day.”
Behind the overall battle, Britain’s Rob Swann enjoyed his outing in Andrew Mallalieu’s Group N Subaru Impreza N10: fifth fastest on the day’s opening stage – his first on gravel in Barbados – he soon got into his stride, beating the only Group N opposition, Geoff Noel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo XI), on all seven remaining stages, to win the class by 21 seconds. He also benefited from a 30-second penalty applied to Dean Serrao (M8-WRC Impreza WRC S9) to finish the day third overall.
Swann said: “Originally, I was coming to co-drive, but Andrew was out of the island and gave me a chance to drive. I welcomed the help of Geoff Goddard and we had a fantastic day. It was good to get into the seat again, as I haven’t rallied since Sol RB12.”
There was a classic two-wheel-drive battle, including the three Champion Driver title-contenders: on dropped scores, Daryl Clarke (Modified 7 Honda Civic) started the day with 143 points, Neil Corbin (M6 Toyota Starlet) and Logan Watson (SuperModfied 11 BMW M3) with 140 each . . . and ended the day drawn on 160, an unprecedented result for the BRC Championship. After both Clarke and Corbin scored the same number of class wins (eight) and second places (two), Corbin claims the title as the driver of the lower capacity car.
Clarke had an off early on, then damaged the sump on stage three, meaning he needed to be cautious for the rest of the day, finishing 10th overall and second in class to Edward Corbin (Toyota Corolla RunX), those three points costing him the Champion Driver title. Corbin – an impressive sixth overall – had no issues for the day, while Watson, who finished seventh overall, took the jump flat on the final stage before lunch, damaging an engine mount, steering rack and sump. He said: “We had to do some serious McGyver work to patch up and keep going.”
Afterwards, Clarke said: “I felt no real pressure regarding the Championship battle, as I was simply happy with the achievements I have made this year. This has been a very successful year.” Corbin added: “I pushed hard and it turned out quite well, as I battled with Logan and Daryl for the Championship.”
Watson summed up the year-long title chase: “For me, I think we all won – Daryl, Neil and myself – but big congrats to Neil Corbin, who was really the outsider to win as Daryl had the greatest opportunity to do so. I couldn’t have asked for a closer championship. I’m happy with all the good fortune, and the positive promotion of the Pink Gift charity.”
At the end of the day, BRC Competition Secretary Neil Corbin said: “A big thanks to all our marshals for standing out in the hot and dusty conditions. Also to Jeanne Crawford, for her invaluable assistance in helping with timing and Rally Control, and Adrian Linton, for his help setting up the excellent course, which I think everyone enjoyed.”
BRC Winter Gravel Rally Virgin Atlantic BRC Class Championship, round 10
- 1st Paul Bourne / David Cossey (M8-WRC Ford Focus WRC07), 21m 52.47s
- 2nd Roger Hill / Graham Gittens (M8-WRC Toyota Corolla WRC), 21m 54.78s
- 3rd Rob Swann – ENG/Geoff Goddard (P4 Subaru Impreza N10), 22m 37.88s
- 4th Dean Serrao / Josh Delmas (M8-WRC Subaru Impreza WRC S9), 22m 40.85s
- 5th Geoffrey Noel / Kreigg Yearwood (P4 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 22m 58.35s
- 6th Neil Corbin / Ryan Corbin (M6 Toyota Starlet), 23m 43.55s
- 7th Logan Watson / Ryan Wood (SM11 BMW M3), 23m 58.97s
- 8th Jamal Brathwaite / Justin Campbell (M6 Mitsubishi Mirage RS), 23m 59.65s
- 9th Edward Corbin / Shareef Walcott (M7 Toyota Corolla RunX), 24m 08.77s
- 10th Daryl Clarke / Russell Brancker (M7 Honda Civic), 24m 32.13s etc
- 1st Bourne / Cossey
- 2nd Hill / Gittens
- 3rd Serrao / Delmas; etc
- 1st Swann / Goddard;
- 2nd Noel / Yearwood
- 1st Watson / Wood
- 1st Carlos Edwards / Andre Waithe (SM9 Toyota Starlet), 26m 56.36s
- 1st Corbin / Walcott;
- 2nd Clarke / Brancker;
- 3rd Freddie Gale / Kyle Proverbs (M7 Toyota Corolla RunX), 24m 56.84s
- 1st Corbin / Corbin;
- 2nd Brathwaite / Campbell
- 1st Jeremy Croney / Andrew Croney (Peugeot 206), 26m 06.61s